I attended the antiwar forum in Reston on March 3 during which Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) addressed a range of threats confronting Americans, from the deteriorating economy to the Bush administration's refusal to talk straight about its plans for Iraq ["Moran Said Jews Are Pushing War," front page, March 11].

His comments regarding Jewish political influence were only a small part of the evening. A woman who identified herself as Jewish and antiwar wondered why more Jews weren't attending the event, and Rep. Moran answered her. His thoughts are widely supported by Jewish commentators in and out of Israel.

Rep. Moran also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not always say everything Israel's supporters want to hear, and this has gotten him in hot water before. Israel wants $12 billion in supplemental aid, which Rep. Moran has not challenged or criticized. He simply says that in return for $12 billion, the settlement-building should end. He said that to have peace, Israel must withdraw to its 1967 boundaries. He also was emphatic that Israel must be safe and secure. Those are moderate requirements.

The slur of "anti-Semitism" is being leveled to intimidate and to keep us from discussing the real issues.

KRISTINE MONTAMAT

Arlington

*

Many Jews take it personally when someone criticizes their community. I hope that the leaders of the Democratic Party who support Rep. James Moran through scandal after scandal will someday understand that.

The sad fact is that war with Iraq is coming, and Rep. Moran blames not Saddam Hussein but me.

JONATHAN MARK

Alexandria

*

Rep. James Moran's anti-Semitic remarks were shocking.

His references to a monolithic "Jewish" influence at the highest levels of our government reek of the fabricated "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and other cynical attempts throughout history to blame Jews as a group for problems of society at large. This is something out of the playbook of hate groups lurking on the fringes of American society.

His suggestion that there is a "Jewish view" on the war or any other issue defies credibility. No single organization or group of organizations speaks for all Jews on any issue, just as no single voice can adequately express the views of all or even many of the members of any affinity group.

Finally, not a shred of evidence shows that the Bush administration's movement toward war with Iraq is the product of the influence of any group outside the administration.

Bigotry in the halls of Congress is unacceptable. Rep. Moran should do the right thing and resign.

STEVEN B. BOEHM

McLean

*

A sinless remark by Rep. James Moran regarding the Jewish community has set the pot to boil, although the flame has been turned up not by Rep. Moran but by those who choose to be offended. And it is a choice.

The Jewish community exists as the rest of us exist -- not apart, but part of; not above, but within. It cannot claim exemption from any critical analysis or remark that is other than salutatory.

BARRY MOYER

Washington